With demand at fever pitch for vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to show us his abs, the spotlight has also landed on Beachbody — the Santa Monica, Calif.-based fitness outfit behind P90X, Ryan's video workout program of choice.
P90X, which gained popularity through a series of late-night infomercials, has seen its Google searches, traffic to its website and week-over-week purchases at least double since Ryan joined Mitt Romney's campaign. Though the P90X workout has previously been linked to other famous people, including Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Jonah Hill, Kelly Slater and even Michelle Obama, Beachbody's co-founder and president Jon Congdon told The Huffington Post he has never before seen a "furor" like this.
Congdon said he and co-founder Carl Daikeler are "excited" by the attention they're getting for their part in crafting Ryan's abs. "It means more people are exposed to our brand and our methods," he said. "Paul Ryan is an excellent example of what somebody can achieve using our program. The guy is super fit."
The viral benefits of Ryan's abs continue to roll in for Beachbody. "Shirtless" is the second most popular Google search term connected with Ryan, after "vice president."
Buzz for the 2012 campaign's most sought-after abs escalated Friday, when the first shirtless Ryan photo was released by TMZ. That photo, however, was taken six years ago, before Ryan started the P90X workout, so rather than whetting the appetite on the Ryan abs watch, it merely stoked the curiosity about the reportedly ripped midsection of the 6-foot-2-inch, 163-pound Wisconsin congressman, who boasts just 6 to 8 percent body fat.
One of the few people privy to the as yet classified abs is Tony Horton, who created P90X for and with Beachbody. Horton told CNN that he worked out with Ryan and other members of Congress during 6 a.m. Capitol gym P90X sessions "five or six times."
Congdon said he has been given a tour of the congressional gym, which has been retrofitted with plasma screens and pull-up bars to accommodate the P90X workouts, but he has not yet personally met Ryan or seen the congressman's elusive abs firsthand. "Tony told us he's in great shape," Congdon said, "so I have no reason to disbelieve the guy is very lean."
Though the Atlantic called Ryan's abs "divisive," Congdon believes the bipartisan, Ryan-led group of congressional P90X devotees, working out together toward a common goal of six-pack abs for all, could have a positive effect on the state of the union.
"When you're fit, everything gets better, including your mental clarity," Congdon said. "We'd like to think for an hour a day, they are agreeing on something and realizing these aren't such bad guys after all. The more common ground, the better off we are."
In fact, Congdon said he would love to get a photo of Ryan working out with a Democrat. Meanwhile, if the Wisconsin congressman happens to send in an "after" photo to go along with TMZ's "before," Congdon said he would send Ryan a free T-shirt.
And then, asking not what his country could do for him but what he could do for his country, Congdon said he would "put up the before-and-after Paul Ryan photos. Proudly."